Pat Dunwoody, founding executive director of the Canadian ETF Association, will be leaving the organization after more than a decade at the helm.

“Over the past 12 years, I’ve had the honour of contributing to CETFA’s growth, witnessing it evolve into a formidable voice for the ETF industry, representing 95% of the market. However, the time has come for me to embark on a new chapter,” she wrote in a LinkedIn post.

When CETFA started in 2012, the ETF industry “didn’t have a voice and no one wanted to hear from us. … We were just little country bumpkins,” Dunwoody joked in an interview. “No one cared about the product.”

She said she’s proud that financial advisors have largely embraced ETFs since then, with the products acting as a catalyst for many to consider going fee-based. As well, she’s pleased that CETFA inspired industry players to coalesce around a cause bigger than themselves.

“Talking in support of an industry, as opposed to just your own firm, takes a lot,” she said. “If the industry is strong and successful, then [individual firms] will end up getting the [dividends] as well.”

Dunwoody said a new executive director will likely be appointed following CETFA’s annual general meeting in June, when new board members and a new chair will be elected. She will work part time for CETFA for the month of April and probably depart officially following that period, she added.

Dunwoody is joining Strategicly, a consulting firm that she co-founded with Nadine Livingston, as chief strategy officer and as CEO of Mineralchemy, Strategicly’s health and wellness division.

Dunwoody reflected with fondness on her 40 years in the financial services industry, during which she helped launch industry data hub Fundserv Inc.

“I started when there was a room of us that did customer service for the mutual fund industry, period. And we had one computer for all of us,” she said. “We’ve come a long way.”

Dunwoody also has served on the board of Prosper Canada, a national financial literacy charity, and been a strong supporter of United for Literacy (formerly Frontier College).

“I hope that more companies devote more money and time into financial literacy, and literacy in general, because it will only make the industry stronger and healthier if you can [educate] the clients,” she said.

Other industry moves

  • Donovan Dempster is now vice-president of business development for Western Canada with IG Wealth Management, marking an expansion of the leadership team at the firm. He’ll work alongside Matt Andrews, vice-president for the Ontario region, and St├ęphane Dulude, vice-president for the Quebec/Atlantic region. All three report to senior vice-president of business development Herp Lamba. Dempster has worked in the industry for more than 40 years, with the bulk spent working within Royal Bank of Canada’s wealth businesses.
  • Richard Anton has been named chief client officer of CIBC Mellon while Catherine Thrasher has been appointed chief operations officer. Thrasher, who most recently held the position of chief client solutions officer, takes over for Anton, who was previously COO. Anton’s new role involves broader responsibilities than Thrasher’s previous position, additionally covering relationship management, communications and marketing functions. Both have worked in the industry for decades and have been with CIBC Mellon for several years.